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Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent the cryptocurrency world into a tizzy this weekend with a series of tweets about Bitcoin and a lesser-known currency called Dogecoin. His remarks caused the price of the latter, which is based on a meme about Shiba Inu dogs, to soar.
The episode began in the wee hours of Sunday night when Musk replied to a racy tweet showing a woman wearing Tesla-branded shorts—an article of clothing that the company created earlier this year to mock those who had shorted its stock price. In response to the tweet, Musk billionaire replied “Bitcoin is my safe word.”
Soon after, the eccentric and apparently sleepless billionaire tweeted a series of other messages about Bitcoin. This culminated in an exchange with the CEO of a software security called Microstrategy, Michael Saylor, who recently invested $250 million of the company’s treasury in Bitcoin.
The exchange began when Musk tweeted a crude image suggesting he was trying to resist the urge to buy Bitcoin. This led Saylor to urge the Tesla CEO to make a major bet on the cryptocurrency, and Musk to ask him if such big transactions are possible.
Musk’s question was likely disingenuous as buying large amounts of Bitcoin is relatively easy and someone with even a passing knowledge of cryptocurrency—like Musk—would be aware of this. Meanwhile, in a previous tweet, Musk declared Bitcoin to be “almost as bs as fiat money.”
The Tesla CEO’s Twitter ramblings took another turn when he began to praise Dogecoin. The dog-themed cryptocurrency has been around since 2013 but is essentially worthless beyond its novelty value since, unlike Bitcoin, it is designed to be inflationary—spitting out 10,000 new coins every few minutes. (See this Fortune overview of Dogecoin for the whole strange story)
Despite the inherent silliness of Dogecoin, its price shot up 40% from $0.003 to $0.005 after Musk tweeted the following:
To cap off his prank, Musk pinned the message “come for the comments, stay for the memes” to the top of his Twitter feed. He also changed his biography on the site such that his title didn’t reflect his current jobs—CEO of both Tesla and the rocket company SpaceX—but a fictitious former role.
And so concluded a strange episode—or what many might regard as a typical weekend—for both Musk and cryptocurrency.
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